Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Logic Will Make You Happy - And Emotions Will Not.

Thinking Emotionally not only is illogical, but it will make you terribly, terribly unhappy.

People reading this blog may come away with the impression that I am not sentimental and, in fact, can be a real cold-hearted bastard.

You are quite perceptive.

But on the other hand, what I have learned over the last 50 years, is that people who get all weepy and emotional about everything never end up happy.  Never.  Ever.

So what was the point of being all weepy and emotional? 

The picture above of course is of Leonard Nimoy, as Mr. Spock from the television show Star Trek.  The premise of Mr. Spock was that he was a Vulcan, a race of people who nearly destroyed themselves through emotional thinking, until they embraced logic.  Emotional thinking, it seems, was nearly their downfall.

And it could be yours as well.

Making major decisions in life based on emotional thinking will inevitably lead to unhappiness.  You buy (or worse yet, lease) a shiny new car when you are 40 because you think "you deserve it" - but you fail to fund your 401(k) at the same time.  You are succumbing to an emotional need and not thinking logically.

And simple logic dictates that, down the road, you will need money to retire on.   And this inescapably leads us to the conclusion that money is not something that should be spent heedlessly or frivolously - for emotional reasons alone.

So, in an attempt to "make yourself happy" by making emotional decisions, you end up miserable. Because in 20 years, that shiny new car will be in the junkyard, and you will have to deal with the outcome of the poor financial planning you made when you were 40.  You'd wish you bought a secondhand Corolla instead and put more money in the bank.

But that's thinking logically, which is "no fun at all" - right?

Similarly, in your personal life, you may make emotional decisions that nominally are designed to make you happy, but end up making you miserable.

For example, you decide to date or marry someone who is mentally unbalanced, on the premise that you are "in love" with them.  And love is a fine and wonderful thing.  But it is possible to be in love with a number of people (as our Nation's divorce rate attests) and there is no one mate predestined to be yours - that you are bound to, cosmically.

And yet, many people feel bound to stay with someone they "love" even though the relationship is abusive - mentally, physically, or financially.  And people will say they are "doing it for love" - although personally, I think such relationships are based less on mutual love than on an inner need to abuse and be abused.  It is the self-love of a person to be abused, not to love someone else.

I think, logically, it would make more sense to hold out for someone to love who is more mentally balanced - or live alone instead.  Because the nightmare scenarios of an abusive relationship - the violence, the arguments, the utter waste of resources - will never make you happy.

Never.  Ever.  And if you love someone - and they love you - why would you make each other miserable?

So, far from being "cold hearted", being logical is being warm-hearted.  Logic is life-affirming, not life destroying.

Emotions are always suspect.

For example, as I have noted (harped on?) time and again in this blog, some "well-meaning" parents or family members get sucked into these emotional and financial relationships with family members, where they dole out money to a "needy" family member, who, because of the doling out of money, remains a perpetual needy family member.  It is a sick dance, as the dole-er finds satisfaction in controlling the life of the dole-ee, who enjoys not working and getting free money.  But neither is truely happy, but instead bitches about how awful the other is - too chintzy to hand out more largess, or too lazy to "get a job".

A healthy peer-to-peer relationship is more logical.  While it may seem "harsh" and "unkind" to tell a family member to get a job and take care of themselves (when they clearly are capable of doing so) the net result is that the family member learns to take care of themselves which in turn improves their self-esteem.

And while this means that the dole-or cannot lord over the "needy" family member, they can have a more healthy relationship, not based on a continual need for handouts.

So again, what many emotional thinkers may decry as "cold-hearted" and "unsympathetic" is actually more loving and warm-hearted - and results in a better outcome for everyone involved.

Emotional thinking never, ever makes you happy. 

But logical thinking can.   Most people worry endlessly about money, and one reason they worry (or argue) is that they cannot sit down and think logically and discuss things logically.  They spend money on emotional needs and then wonder where it all went.

Take care of yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  And by this, I don't mean going out and buying a new car as a "treat" to yourself, but instead to balance your checkbook, control your spending, and have a budget and financial plan in place.  Because not having to worry is the greatest happiness there is.

And if you want to avoid worry, you have to stop thinking emotionally.

It's just simple, well.... Logic!